Metro Seeks Input on East Valley Transit Corridor Project

Today Metro's planning committee approved a preferred alternative that would run light rail in the middle of Van Nuys Boulevard. Rendering via Metro
Today Metro's planning committee approved a preferred alternative that would run light rail in the middle of Van Nuys Boulevard. Rendering via Metro

Metro is studying transit improvements for the East San Fernando Valley Transit Corridor project, primarily along Van Nuys Boulevard. The current environmental studies, released earlier this month, include possible Bus Rapid Transit (BRT), light rail, or transportation systems management (TSM – basically minor low-cost bus improvements). Light rail options studied include a partial subway, though the project is anticipated to be surface light rail.

Public comments are due by October 16. There is still time to catch the last of Metro’s pubic input hearings on the East Valley Transit Corridor Project, this Saturday 9/23 from 9 a.m. to 12 p.m. at St. Mark’s Episcopal Church at 14646 Sherman Way in Van Nuys.

East SFV Transit Corridor study area map showing xxx.
East SFV Transit Corridor study area map showing existing bus ridership and bus speeds

The project study area includes most of Van Nuys Boulevard and a portion of San Fernando Road. The future 9.2-mile transit facility will connect with the Van Nuys Orange Line station, and Van Nuys and Sylmar/San Fernando Metrolink stations.

According to Metro’s presentation, despite relatively low bus speeds of approximately 12 mph, the corridor is the seventh busiest bus corridor in the Metro system, with the second highest bus boardings in the Valley. Less than a century ago, the Pacific Electric streetcar ran there.

The project is funded primarily by Measure M, with additional Measure R funding. The funding currently available is $1.2 billion, which corresponds to the anticipated cost of surface light rail.

EastValleycostchart
East Valley corridor cost comparison chart – note that a partial subway would basically double the project cost

Light rail options include either 14 or 28 stations. The 28 station rail would move much slower, and attract fewer riders.

xxx
Proposed 14-station plan for East San Fernando Valley light rail

At Monday’s community hearing, several speakers expressed concerns about anticipated property acquisition for a future rail yard. Metro has identified three potential general locations for a 25-30 acre yard.

Possible East Valley train yard locations
Possible East Valley train yard locations

Another aspect of the project that people are weighing in on is how cyclists factor into the corridor. CiclaValley notes that the Van Nuys corridor is designated as part of L.A.’s bicycle network, though Metro designs currently show only sharrows. A possible Van Nuys Blvd bikeway would compete with curb parking.

Attend this Saturday’s meeting to learn more and to express support or concerns.

  • Kirk Gaw

    Surface Light Rail seems to be the best option for Van Nuys Blvd. between Sherman Oaks and San Fernando!

  • Jack Ban

    I think preferably, it should be below-grade all the way from the orange line (and further to ventura blvd assuming a southern extension) to San Fernando road at least. If tunnel boreing is too expensive, i might suggest below-ground open (or closed) trench in the median of the street. If possible, the construction area would still be in the median of the street (just like at-grade construction). As for stations, they would also be below-ground but be designed as the mirror image of elevated stations like Expo/La Brea, etc, with stairs/elevators in the median of the street. Definately more expensive than at-grade but also less than tunnel boreing or traditional full-street-width cut and cover, i think.

  • Jack Ban

    Also, In the likely scenario this project gets extended further down to westwood and LAX (sepulveda pass, sepulveda blvd, etc), this line will DEFINITELY have VERY HIGH RIDERSHIP. Thus 3 car trains will not be enough. I VERY STRONGLY recommend the station platforms be 6 cars long or longer (approx 540-600 ft). Also why i preferred entirely underground (or elevated/grade-separated, whichever) in my earlier comment; It will likely be very difficult for at-grade / street-level stations to accommodate 540 ft long platforms.

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